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April 15, 2007

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One thing that I always remember when thinking about things like this:

In college, my parents had come to visit one weekend. We went to church (a very small mission congregation that met at a local YMCA) on Sunday AM.

I had essentially no money--in general--but when the offering plate came around, I put in $20. I did that as frequently as I could, which really wasn't all that often.

After church, we went to lunch. Out in the parking lot, dad slipped me $20 and said something like "I saw what you put in the offering plate. When you give, it comes back in ways you don't expect."

I've always felt that giving to church "repaid itself" in different ways--some tangible, some intangible.

Isn't the idea of giving to give without expecting anything? Otherwise, isn't it called "investing?"

Muckdog --

You're right -- it is an investment. See Matthew 6:19-21.

I attended a workshop held by Edwene Gaines at a local church and she talked about this very subject and I had to visit your site today and see what you posted for this weekend! And here it is! The very same thing I learned about at the workshop...tithing.

I grew up paying 10% without even questioning it, but when my beliefs changed and I no longer attended that church regularly, I stopped paying the 10% to that institution. Here or there, I would donate supplies to kids, art groups, charities, etc. It wasn't anywhere near 10% of my gross income.

I liked the idea of choosing where my tithes could go, where I felt inspired to send them. In Edwene's workshop, she talked about sending your tithes to the place that you are spiritually fed. This made complete sense to me. Instead of always feeling guilt about not sending enough to this person or place in need, I was creating NEED in my own life. However, when I start to give 10% to the places I am spiritually fed...it's a way of showing thanks back to the Universe. After I've done that, then additional money will be sent to those charities that I feel are in need.

She quoted Malachi 3:10 as well and asked us to give it a try for at least 6 months. Apparently, she tripled her income as a single Mom, practically broke, following that scripture. Initially, my first thought was..."I could be putting that money into my ING savings account and gaining interest on it! I'll just pay what I feel comfortable donating that month". Then I re-did my budget this month and came out with $5 to spare when I included the full 10% tithing. I know this is going to work out! I'll keep you posted.

Prepare to receive once we give! :)

It's important to remember that this passage is addressed specifically to the nation of Israel. This isn't addressed to any church.

Dean --

Are you implying that this verse is not applicable to New Testament Christians?

There are tons of passages that were addressed to Israel in the Old Testament that are applicable to Christians today -- and this is one of them.

And if you need extra support for this line of thinking from the New Testament, see the Matthew verses I note in the comments above (spoken by Jesus) as well as Luke 6:38 (also spoken by Jesus) and 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.

Tithes and offering are acts of faithfulness and thankfulness. God loves and blesses those who are faithful... and so He wants to give them the best thing He can. What's the best thing He can give us? If we believe that God thinks the absolute best thing He can give us is more money, then we're probably in for a shock.

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